Leicester City 2:0 Stoke City
City continued their winning run, with a comfortable 2-0 win against Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…
Craig Shakespeare made one change to his line-up, with Albrighton feeling unwell and making way for Gray.
The game kicked off in misty conditions after the Chairman’s birthday fireworks and after an attacking start from Stoke, City soon got into their stride and were looking threatening going forward.
Mahrez launched a free-kick into the area, and after some pinball in the box, Benalouane failed to get a clean strike when well placed.
Gray then went on a run across the 18 yard line but was eventually crowded out by the Stoke defence.
In the 16th minute Gray went on the charge again, down the left, but was cynically felled by Shawcross who recieved a yellow card. Gray looked to be hurt and shaken by the late challenge, but soon recovered.
Fuchs delivered the free kick, but Huth’s header was cleared off the line and Vardy couldn’t quite reach the rebound.
After a Stoke corner City broke upfield and Gray fired a 20 yarder inches wide of the left hand post, but the opening goal arrived in the 26th minute.
Ndidi ran onto a ball from Simpson, took a touch into space, and then launched a superb 25 yarder into the top right hand corner, giving Grant no chance.
City continued to attack and Whelan was the second Stoke man in Lee Mason notebook for a foul on Gray. Mahrez’s volley from Fuchs’ free kick was blocked, before Stoke had a rare chance when Arnautovic’s shot on the turn found the side-netting.
City couldn’t add to their tally before the break: a Gray shot was deflected wide, Okazaki’s overhead kick went narrowly over the bar, and a fine shot on the run from Mahrez was brilliantly tipped round the post by Grant.
But City doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half.
Gray reached a dead end down the right and fed the ball back to Simpson who chipped a well-measured cross into the area. Vardy nipped ahead of Johnson and lashed a fierce volley home from 10 yards.
City pressed on looking for a third goal. Fuchs forced a good save from Grant, and Okazaki was also denied by the Stoke keeper from close range.
Grant’s busy afternoon continued… Vardy made swift progress down the left, evading two defenders to get a low cross in for Mahrez, who sent his close range effort straight at Grant. Mahrez retrieved the ball, and fired in another shot which Grant also blocked.
The visitors then had their best spell of the afternoon as they desperately tried to find a way back into the game. Subsititute Crouch sent an effort wide, before Arnautovic netted but was harshly judged to have been offside. His glare at the linesman would have turned milk.
Shakespeare used his allocation of subs in the final fifteen minutes, with Amartey, Slimani and Chilwell coming on for Okazaki, Vardy and Gray.
Grant pulled off further saves to deny Gray and Mahrez, before Crouch wasted a great chance, heading over from close in.
The final whistle saw Craig Shakepeare setting a record – the first British manager to win his first four Premier League games, while City climbed up to 13th place.
Shakespeare, who joined a club comprising off Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, commented: “Sometimes have to pinch yourself in terms of the names being mentioned. I’m at a very early stage in my management career but to be mentioned in the same breath of them makes me very proud. I realise there’s a lot people to thank along the way, in terms of my previous managers when I’ve been an assistant, but also the players. Confidence is a big thing and we’ve managed to keep the run going. We’re still not safe.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Gray (Chilwell 87), Okazaki (Amartey 73), Vardy (Slimani 81). Subs Not Used: Musa, King, Zieler, Ulloa.
Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Arnautovic, Allen, Whelan (Adam 70), Sobhi, Walters (Crouch 54), Berahino (Diouf 70). Subs Not Used: Muniesa, Afellay, Imbula, Given.
Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 31,958.
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